Club baseball welcomes familiar coach
After struggling to live up to its usual standards last season, the Arizona club baseball team replaced its head coach with one of its own.
Launched in 2007, the UA club baseball program has made it to the National Club Baseball Association World Series three times, but finished behind UC San Diego and ASU last year in the Southern Pacific East Conference and did not qualify for regionals.
“I feel like [the team] kind of screwed around a little bit too much,” said sophomore catcher and co-captain Tim Beaubien. “We didn’t take things seriously, it was kind of just thrown together. I think that if we had really tried, and had goals we could have gotten there, but we kind of just came to practice and screwed around.”
Senior second baseman J.C. Conrad, the team’s other captain, said the players were too relaxed because of the last coach, Louie Davila.
Cole Malham / The Daily Wildcat UA club baseball team holds tryouts at Kino Sports Complex on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013.
“We weren’t really driven to do anything well,” Conrad said. “We had the talent, just didn’t work hard enough at it.”
After last year’s disappointing season the team selected Ben Zenner to be its new coach.
Zenner, the club’s president, has played baseball for 16 years, three with the Wildcats.
Though Zenner is set to graduate in December, the team voted to have him coach during the 2013-14 school year to try and return to regionals, after going 11-11 last year, 5-7 in conference play.
Zenner said being a coach brings a new set of duties.
“Someone would have a plan for me,” Zenner said. “But now, you know, I have to create practice plans. I have to keep everyone organized, making sure they’re paying their dues, making sure they’re coming to practice, and notifying everybody when team events are.”
Last week may have only been the first practice of the new year, but already the team is noticing an improvement under Zenner’s coaching.
“I feel like we worked harder this practice than we did all last year already, in terms of getting stuff done and just [being] organized,” Beaubien said. “[Ben] has a plan … and he’s just very structured, and organized, and has good leadership qualities.”
As the practices for the new season begin, the team is adjusting to its new coach and the changes to its roster.
“We graduated a lot of seniors, so this team this year is going to be a very young and new team,” Zenner said. “A lot of new guys are filling in roles they’ve never played before. So I think there’s a lot of excitement surrounding this team in terms of, you know, a lot of opportunities for everyone.”
Both captains are confident that under Zenner’s leadership, the team will be able to return to Las Vegas this year for regionals.
“I’m looking forward to just seeing the incoming freshmen, seeing what kind of talent we have coming this year,” Zenner said. “And then I’m looking forward to seeing how our returning players respond to a new team. Personally I believe we can get to regionals again this year, so I just want to see how our team responds to those goals.”
— Follow Brittney Klewer @BrittneyKlewer